White Sox

Not pretty, but Bears get the better of Lions

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Not pretty, but Bears get the better of Lions

When a grizzly bear surprised the two campers around their fire, one yelled, Run!
 
The second yelled, You cant outrun a bear!
 
To which the first hollered over his shoulder, I dont have to outrun the bear. I only have to outrun you!
 
It really doesnt matter (yet) whether the Bears are a very good team, only that they are better than the ones they play. Right now they are, particularly the Detroit Lions, who are now officially not a good football team. Not well coached, not well much of anything.
 
But the more important point as far as the Bears were concerned Monday night was the Bears were better than they were, 13-7 better, the lowest point total for a Bears win since the 10-0 handling of the New York Jets in 2010.
 
The result Monday night was a win that may have lacked the flash or the flash points of recent Bears-Lions games. But the more important point as far as the Bears were concerned Monday night was they were better than the Lions were, 13-7 better -- the lowest point total for a Bears win since the 10-0 handling of the New York Jets in 2010.
 
Only the Atlanta Falcons (6-0) have fewer than the Bears one loss. Lovie Smith teams have now won six of the last seven times playing after week off, a testament to preparation and coaching.
 
Were 5-1, Smith said. Thats the position we wanted to be in.
 
For point of reference: The Lions also won last week after their week off. They committed 17 penalties in that game. So much for focus and tightening up. And against the Bears the coaches called 52 pass plays and 15 run plays despite backs averaging 5 yards per carry. Bears defenders talk about stopping the run and making a team one-dimensional. Lions coach Jim Schwartz did that for them.
 
The Bears took the ball away from the Lions four times, making for a total of 10 over the last two times the teams played in Soldier Field, where Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford remains winless for his career. And safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright had near-interceptions in their hands or the total would have been higher.
 
The offense wasnt particularly good, just good enough, with a first-quarter first-possession touchdown, only the second first-quarter TD of the season (Indianapolis).
 
Neither Stafford nor Jay Cutler posted a passer rating as high as 80. But Cutler did his with damaged ribs, five sacks and nine hits. Stafford was sacked three times. He may have thrown for 5,000 yards last year but thats a stat, not leadership, and the Bears have more of that, top to bottom, than the Lions.
 
That doesnt necessarily mean theyre as good as they need or are going to be. But they are 5-1 and thats enough right now to outrun the grizzly. And clearly the Lions.
 
Were not concerned with stats and whos the best, this or that, said defensive end Julius Peppers, who had a sack and two hits on Stafford. Were just trying to get better.
Box score

A great escape and a positive 'learning moment' for Lucas Giolito

A great escape and a positive 'learning moment' for Lucas Giolito

So often in this rebuilding season, Rick Renteria has talked of "learning moments," and as is evident from the team's win-loss numbers and many other statistics, those "learning moments" have largely ended in negative results.

It's not to say the lessons haven't been valuable ones, and growing pains now could lead to big-time success down the road, when the White Sox shift from rebuilding mode to contention mode.

But Tuesday night in Detroit, one young player, a significant piece of the team's long-term plans, succeeded in such a moment. And it looked like a step forward for a guy who's called himself one of the most inconsistent pitchers in baseball this season.

Lucas Giolito looked like he was heading for another disappointing outing early, when he relinquished a three-run lead in the first inning, allowing three runs that grew his first-inning ERA on the season to 8.63. But he settled down nicely from there, allowing just two base runners over the next four innings and allowing the White Sox to jump back ahead, which they did, leading 6-3 by the time Giolito's biggest challenge came around.

The Tigers loaded the bases to start the bottom of the sixth, putting three on with nobody out for Giolito, who has been susceptible to the big inning often this season, including in his previous start, when he gave up six runs in the second inning against the New York Yankees.

Renteria could've pulled the plug there and brought in a fresh reliever to try and limit the damage and keep his team's three-run lead alive. Instead, he allowed Giolito to stay in — another example of certain developmental things being more important than wins and losses this season — and the right-hander rewarded him. Giolito got a shallow flyball, a strikeout and a popup on the infield to end the inning with no runs scoring.

Giolito was obviously happy about that, and cameras showed him sharing a smile with Renteria in the dugout.

The White Sox won the game and now have a 6-2 record in Giolito's last eight starts. They're .500 (12-12) in his 24 starts this season, an interesting note, if not a terribly meaningful one, considering the team's overall record is 33 games below the .500 mark.

These "learning moments" have defined this developmental season on the South Side, and often they've come with the caveat of growing pains and the promise of a better tomorrow, despite a somewhat painful present.

This moment, though, came with a very visible sign of things moving in the right direction for Giolito. It doesn't mean Giolito will take off from here. But it's a good sign and something the White Sox have to be happy about as Giolito continues to develop at the major league level.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Ben Zobrist ready for robot umps?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Ben Zobrist ready for robot umps?

Nick Friedell, Jordan Bernfield and Jay Cohen join Chuck Garfien on the panel.  Jose Quintana gets rocked early by the Brewers while Yu Darvish throws a successful sim game. Meanwhile, Ben Zobrist makes a pitch for robot umps… right in the home plate umpire’s face.

Plus Roquan Smith is finally at Bears practice.  Will his 29-day holdout put more pressure on the first round pick?  

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below: